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Santa Monica Election Season to Officially Open Monday

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

July 8, 2014 -- Potential candidates can begin the nomination process for Santa Monica’s November 4 general election next Monday with a total of 14 seats up for grabs.

The focus will be on what promises to be a hotly contested race for three open seats on the City Council, but there also are three seats open on the Rent Control Board; four on the School Board and four on the College Board of Trustees.

On Monday potential candidates can begin pulling papers to run and pay a $25 filing fee. They then have until August 8 to collect 100 signatures from registered voters.

So far, five candidates have officially announced their intention to wage what is likely to be a long, heated battle for City Council  Incumbents Pam O’Connor and Kevin McKeown have yet to officially announce their candidacies but are expected to run for reelection. 

Some political observers speculate that Councilmember Bob Holbrook will not seek a record seventh term, likely widening the field of candidates vying for a rare open seat.

Physical therapist and political newcomer Ken Robin became the first to announce his intention to run for Council in February, five months before the nomination period.

The day after Robin announced, Phil Brock, who chairs of the City’s Parks and Recreation Commission, announced he would run as a slow-growth advocate.

It wasn’t until April that Peace activist Jerry Rubin announced he would mount his sixth campaign for City Council since 2000. Once again, he vowed not to seek donations.

In May, Richard McKinnon became the first of three Planning Commissioners expected to seek a higher office when he announced he would run for council after failing to win a seat in 2012.

Both Planning Commissioners Sue Himmelrich and Jennifer Kennedy are expected to announce their respective bids for a council seat in the upcoming weeks.

The field also will include at least one candidate hoping to regain a seat on the dais. Former mayor Michael Feinstein announced his return to Santa Monica politics last month at a campaign launch event in Tongva Park.

School Board member Oscar de la Torre told The Lookout that he has not ruled out a run for a council seat – or a reelection bid for School Board – and will make a decision as soon as next week.

In the race for School Board, two potential candidates have officially announced.
Board member Laurie Lieberman, who served as Board president last year, is the only incumbent in the race launch a campaign when she filed paperwork with the City Clkerk to form a campaign committee.

Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights,  the City’s most powerful political organization, announced his intent to run last week.

Board member Nimish Patel announced two weeks ago that he would not seek reelection.

Ralph Mechur, current vice-president of the board, has yet to officially announce his reelection bid.

No official announcements have been made on candidates for Rent Control Board or SMC Board of Trustees.

The nomination period ends August 8 at 5 p.m., if all incumbents file to run.  However, if an incumbent chooses not to file, the nomination period for that seat will end on August 13 at 5 p.m.

Two Candidate Workshops will be held on July 14 at the City Council Chambers, at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

Potential candidates interested in running for office will have the opportunity to review the forms they will need to file with the City Clerk’s Office.

Candidates will also receive an Election Guide, information about new election laws and Nomination (Petition) Papers, and they will have the chance to ask questions. 

According to the City Clerk’s office, a potential candidate must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on or before election day and must be a “registered voter living in the jurisdiction at the time nomination papers are issued.”

For more information, potential candidates or interested voters can visit

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